The Unexpected Blessing of Being Single

July 12, 2017 |  by  |  Love, Memoirs  |  Share

The world spins around me like I’m riding on a carousel. I see the faces of the people in my life as I go up and down, up and down. These people feed my soul. I need them. They have been gifts to me from the one and only God who knows me better than I know myself. This same God has kept me single all 41 years of my life and so many times I have felt like I was being punished, when in reality, I was being given a different kind of gift…

I have a big heart and lots of love to give, maybe too much to handle for just one person. Maybe the weight of my love would have been so great that if I had settled down with one girl she might have been smothered by it. I see my love like piles of blankets, falling down in beautiful colors surrounding those that I love, cradling them, letting them know that I see them, they are not alone.  But sometimes you can have too many blankets, sometimes you can have too much love. Yes, perhaps it was best to be single all these years to spread that love around…

As I have walked through life single I have been forced to make the extra effort to connect with people. The intimacy, affection, affirmation, and attention that I crave, that I need, I have found in others. Where I gave love, I mostly got it in return. This love was supernatural, a love so pure and powerful that like refining fire it burned away years of wounds and pain that had built up like plaque in the arteries of my soul. The scars from bullies, the breaks from bad dads, and bruises of insecurity and doubt. The crippling effects of shame. I could not heal these wounds alone. God doesn’t expect us to be able to heal them alone, not even with his help. He sends us people and we need to let them heal us by telling them about the pain. The Bible says in James 5:16, “ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” If we confess our sins to God he provides forgiveness, confessing our sins to others provides healing for our soul.

Over the years I have collected people and memories over things. Things matter very little when you have no one to share them with in your life and so make people a priority. If I had been married at a young age I don’t think I would have ever realized the unexpected blessing that comes from being single. Riding in my carousel I have a unique view of so many lives and I have seen how marriage and family, while it is a blessing, creates a dynamic where your focus is on your family and their needs first. I have not had that restraint. I have not had that burden and therefore I have been able to freely navigate through life and become a part of multiple families – and not just a small part. I have many fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. People who see me not just as a friend, but an actual family member. And really, what is a bit of biology anyway when you are connected at the heart?

As we go through life sometimes we think that the things that have happened to us are the things that make us unlovable when in reality they are the very things that make us who we are, and when we are real with others they love us not because of our perfection, but because of our inadequacies.

Last night I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine who is working his dream job. He has been there for three years and he said before he got the job he had looked at his resume and felt that it was a hodge lodge of skills and that he wasn’t really a great candidate for any promising careers. He had worked in ministry, music and technology and where he finally got his dream job his set of skills, hodge dodge as they were, created the perfect fit for this amazing company. And isn’t that just the way things are in life? We think that the things that have broken us down are negatives, but in reality, they are always positive if we move forward and don’t let them hold us back. Being bullied as a child made me sensitive and compassionate to other people. My desire to be loved by others, made me lovable. My need to be heard, made me a better listener. My desire to be “seen” helped me to “see” people.

I hope in this journey we call life that you are not even for a moment thinking about going it alone. You are doing yourself and others a disservice by isolating your pain, your shame and not allowing yourself to be fully known. As a single man I get to talk with a number of married guys and I am surprised by how many of them aren’t even fully “known” or “seen” by their wives. The reason is usually fear and shame. Not allowing yourself to be vulnerable limits intimacy with others. When someone shares something real about themselves, I immediately feel closer to them because it makes me realize we aren’t all that different. Each of our stories are completely unique and somehow they end up produces the same outcomes. We all got shit we are dealing with. Grab a friend and grab a shovel.


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